Every spring, the Western Gallery presents works by graduating students in the WWU Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program. This year-long studio art program is designed to guide budding artists, help them build their strengths and propel them to independent careers in contemporary art. They work with a facilitator and faculty advisors who challenge and support them in the effort of conceptualizing and articulating their artistic concerns. Over the course of a year, the students develop projects and go through the arduous process of fabricating new works. Their ambitions and impressive abilities are richly displayed in the graduation exhibition.
When the BFA class of 2019 chose “Fever Dreams” as a title for their exhibition, they embraced a certain ambiguity. Fever dreams tend to be turbulent, even convulsive in nature, full of bizarre and unsettling imagery. For this group of young artists, “Fever Dreams” captures their anxiety about the world. How are we going to escape the impending environmental collapse, the glamourized violence, addiction and exploitation that we see all around us? How can we get away from the oversaturation of information, cultural disorientation and denied identities? These are some of the nightmarish fever dreams of a new generation. At the same time, “Fever Dreams” captures for them the power of art to go beyond rationalist logic and reimagine relationships and connections. Objects and ideas are recontextualized, reassociated and reconceptualized in their work. These are artists looking for alternate endings to bad dreams. They search for a doorway, a way of world-making. There must be some creative way out of here, out of the blind alley that imperious rationality has led us into.